Israel Today

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), an independent Israeli group that monitors incitement in the Palestinian press, has published a report charging that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding Palestinian universities that sponsor terrorism.

The report says American development assistance has gone to universities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza with student chapters of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. American aid money has even funded the building of roads named after suicide bombers! “If they think they can pour millions into Palestinian universities while turning a blind eye to the Hamas branches at those universities, they are making a mockery of the United States anti-terror policy,” PMW director Itamar Marcus told a subcommittee of the US Congress. In the past year, USAID gave $41 million to Palestinian universities.

PMW garners most of its evidence from Palestinian press reports:

“The Islamic Bloc [the Hamas student organization] of Al-Najah University [in Nablus] organized the ‘Bridge of the Shahids [“martyrs,” the Palestinian euphemism for suicide bombers]’ exhibition….” The exhibition’ was opened by the faculty dean, Dr. Samir Mayalah, and some lecturers and a representative of the Islamic Bloc. (From the Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida).

PMW said one exhibit showed a mock Sbarro pizza shop, which was bombed in Jerusalem in 2001, and decorated the walls and tables with images of pizza and body parts.

“In Hebron, there was an assembly marking the first anniversary of the assassination of Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin…The assembly was… held in the Al-Quds Open University… Taysir Abu Sakur, on behalf of the university’s administration… recalled the Shahids of our people.” (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)

“The student council at Al-Azhar University [in Gaza]…held a mass meeting yesterday under the title ‘Oath and Loyalty to the Shahids.’…University President, Dr. Hani Najem, emphasized in his speech that our people will continue to be loyal to the blood of our Shahids.” (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)

All of these universities are financed by USAID. Nevertheless, according to US law, all government institutions, organizations and companies are prohibited from funding terrorism.

“Today,” the PMW report concluded, “US money continues to be used to directly and indirectly promote and honor terrorists.”